By Ella Feinberg Large, Louise Cheer

The success of Sydney’s trial of open-air urinals has opened up debate in Brisbane to do the same to stop public urination.

Some of Sydney’s popular late night precincts have trialled the open-air urinals, which operate during the evening and early morning hours.

The urinals will remain in place on weekends in Sydney if community consultation is successful.

But Central Ward Councillor David Hinchliffe said this is not the answer for Brisbane and there needs to be a change to behaviour, not accessibility.

Open-air urinal in Den Haag, similar to the ones trialled in Sydney.
Open-air urinal in Den Haag, similar to the ones trialled in Sydney. Source: Aaron TD on Flickr)

He said something needs to change to make people use public facilities and those who do not follow the law deserve a fine.

“It took me about five years to get a toilet in Brunswick Street Mall,” Cr Hinchliffe said.

“What infuriates me is that we still have people who are urinating within 20 metres of that public toilet openly in the mall.”

The Brisbane council has already trialled weekend porta-loos, without any success.

Cr Hinchliffe said even if the council introduced more public toilets, the problem would not go away.

“Even if we had a public toilet on every corner of every street throughout the Valley, there would still be idiots who lean up against the wall and do their business there,” he said.

Chair of Valley Community Safety Carol Gordon said there are similar ideas to the Sydney experiment being considered for Brisbane’s late night precincts.

“There’s been much conjecture about it for a long time, so what we’ve been doing through the State Government’s Drink Safe trial is finding a workable solution,” she said.

Ms Gordon says it is the first time all stakeholders, including the Queensland Government, council, businesses and communities, have sat down to create an operational management plan that is structured.

“One of the issues [we have faced] is where do we put them,” she said.

“Everyone wants them but no one wants it in their backyard.”

GPO Hotel Venue Manager Casey Gray said trialling the urinals would not hurt but would not prevent the behaviour.

Mr Gray said he has often witnessed people urinating in the bushes outside of the club.

“I’ve seen a lot of people [urinating in public] just for the sake of it … to amuse their friends,” he said.

Ms Gordon said pop-up toilets would be preferred but due to geographical constraints such as the Valley area being built on stone, they will be hard to construct and maintain.